16n is a bank of faders [release thread]

16n is a MIDI, CV and I2C controller with sixteen faders. It’s entirely open-source - the firmware, electronics, panel designs are all licensed under open source licenses.

It began as a project here by @tehn and @shellfritsch . I offered to add MIDI on a minijack; then things took a turn and, on the way, we added CV and I2C.

Along the way, things also slowed down owing to my commitments. It’s January 2 2019, and I am releasing this damn thing properly.

As of now, all the files you need to make one are publicly available. Your best starting point is the single-page website about it and then the github repository. The Github Wiki is now the home of all documentation, from user manual through to install guide.

It’s a little smaller than a monome grid, but it looks good next to one:

and makes a nice controller for your DAW or Virtual Instruments:

I recommend the websites as a good point of reference for your questions. As a DIY project, it is not particularly complex, and designed to be possible to be assembled by hand, but it’s definitely not a beginner project: it’s all 0805 and SOIC SMD, or through-hole.

Many thanks to @shellfritsch and @bpcmusic for their collaboration, support, and above all patience throughout.

Sorry it took so long.


I strongly recommend #16nfaderbank as a hashtag if you want to use a hashtag on socialmedia. The more obvious hashtag turns out to be… an already existing namespace, let’s just say.


Cool, your enthusiasm is appreciated! However: as per the lines trade rules, please, no discussion of buying/selling in this thread.

I’ll try to keep this up-to-dater when things change.

The current version of 16n firmware is 2.0.1 - see the 2.0.1 thread for full details. Hardware compatible with this release is 1.3x and up. It is compatible with 16n-a-likes running a Teensy LC, but it was designed for original-pattern 16ns, so compatibility with derivatives is ‘likely’ rather than guaranteed.

The current version of 16n hardware is 1.34.

This PCB and panel is incompatible with 1.2x layouts. 1.3x layouts can be distinguished by the “cross shaped” standoffs, and the standoffs being M2.5 rather than M2. This is applicable to almost no-one, but I’m just mentioning it anyway.

(Open-source specifics: the CAD files for electronics and panels are licensed as CC-BY-SA 4.0; the code is MIT. What this effectively means for both is you can do what you want with the code/files but you must share anything you do under the same licenses. Which seems reasonable).


  • 2.0.0 - moves all configuration to web-based editor, and stores it all in EEPROM. Breaking change, but means you’ll never lose your config with a firmware upgrade after this, and makes it easy to adjust/swap configs with out recompiling the software or ever having to use Arduino IDE.
  • 1.34 - two tiny but possibly useful updates. Firstly: ResponsiveAnalogRead code has had its sensitivity tweaked, which has solved fader jitter for some people. (Basically - Teensy ADCs are far higher res than Arduino Uno ADCs, so let’s take advantage of that). Secondly, I’ve fixed an issue with the panel DXFs - in correcting the drill size, I used old panel sizes that were just gigantic. The DXFs now have the correct dimensions and drill sizes. The other files - FPDs, drawings - were correct. So you don’t need to upgrade anything unless you feel you need to.
  • 1.33 - alter how MIDI/I2C interrupts work. Much less is going on in the interrupts; this should improve stability and MIDI issues, particularly when I2C is in leader/master mode, and is recommended for all faderbank users.
  • 1.32 - exactly the same hardware as 1.31. Only changes are to the panel DXFs (fixing a bug with hole sizes), and the firmware (I2C now actually works; extra config flag to invert the board).

Very nice. Especially the I2C connectivity.

Have you considered making some and offering them for sale for all those who aren’t interested in, or don’t have the time to DIY it?


mega props to @infovore for not only helping this project become incredibly awesome - but getting all this information documented, organized and nicely presented.

@2disbetter our hope is that by open sourcing it someone in the lines community (or beyond) will organize some diy efforts since neither tom nor i have the capacity to take that on right now.

at some point i plan to offer fully built units - but timeline and cost are unknown.


Congrats on the release!

What a gift! Perfect timing as well as I have some time on my hands now that the holidays are over. Thank you to everyone who made this happen, it looks absolutely phenomenaI! know it wasn’t easy in your limited free time :pray:

Congrats on a very cool release! Looking forward to trying this with ER301…

Awesome ! Thanks a lot. I’m exporting the gerbers (I need the legacy file extensions), I can’t wait to start building it :slight_smile:

The i2C needs a TXb module, right ? Maybe I should wait until it’s released…

Trying to source these slider caps, one of the first versions used them… If someone knows the reference, EU preferably :slight_smile:


i bought those caps from SAMODULAR


I saw this as a source for those Buchla-like fader caps in another thread?


the mammoth ones have a different shape and are made from a less stretchy rubber - prone to splitting.


Great! thanks a lot :pray:

would it be beneficial to have a new thread dedicated to 16n diy/group-buy convos?
could be nice to keep this one open for convos related to usage + firmware dev…


The 74HC4067 seems to be missing from the BOM on octopart (as well as the teensy, which I suppose is a lot more obvious). Or am I missing something?

not specifically. It’ll make your life easier, but all the I2C is is a 3.5mm stereo jack with SCL/SDA broken out. You could wire up your own adapter if you want.

I’d note that I’m not the best person to speak to about I2C - it is a much more complex use case than the others, and you need to choose at the point you flash the firmware whether the device is in MASTER mode (eg, for a an ER-301) or not (for Ansible/monome ecosystem). The latter is the default, iirc. I2C also cannot be hotplugged.


I think you’re right. I’ll sort that out asap.

Regarding groupbuy/sales chat: I think that’s better in another thread. I see @Rodrigo has made an EU thread, for instance. I’d also suggest that you put those into the Trade category. Yes, that will hide them from the front page by default, but it also means you have to be a signed-up user with some history to view them. I don’t want to drown lines in 16n purchasing chat, and I think ‘Trade’ is appropriate given that money is changing hands.

Not my call to make, but a suggestion. It’s good you’re enthusiastic, though.


Update, @x2mirko - the CD74HC4067 is the last item on the Octopart BOM.

Aha! The README was linking to the old Octopart BOM; the electronics README correctly linked it. I’ve fixed that on Github now. Apologies.

oh man you have no idea

In short: yes, I have considered that in various forms, as has @shellfritsch. None of this release stops that happening at some point, but right now, this allows the enthusiastic to go ahead and adopt early. Time and other commitments our end meant that it wasn’t worth blocking release for that.

Right now, a good model to think about is Ornament and Crime, which has had success via small runs of fanufacture, DIY, and spawning other open-source products.

Thanks! Do you happen to know if there were other differences between the versions? I ordered the parts already using the old bom (plus the multiplexer and teensy). I compared it with the bom.csv and didn’t find other changes, but I could of course have missed something.